Match Preview South Africa have Ghana figured out

The South African coach is confident he knows Ghana inside out ahead of Tuesday's friendly in Durban

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play Avram Grant and Shakes Mashaba greet each other during Ghana and South Africa's last meeting at the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea. (AFP/Getty Images)
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South Africa coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba is bullish ahead of his side's international friendly against Ghana later today.

Mashaba's Bafana Bafana go into Tuesday's match in Durban off the back of a morale boosting 1-1 away draw in Burkina Faso, that being the opening game of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"We know already what to expect from Ghana,» the 66-year-old told reporters yesterday.

"It's physical, quick going forward and they take shots from all angles on the pitch." 

The former Swaziland coach however complained about his team's lack of adequate preparatory time ahead of the game.

His team arrived in Durban on Monday morning, compared to Ghana's Sunday morning arrival.

"We arrived this morning (Monday) and no training, nothing," Mashaba said.

"A lot of people expect the boys to run and win against Ghana. Ghana, our visitors, were here on Sunday if I’m not mistaken and they had all the chance to prepare and they prepared yesterday. We couldn’t train and the medical people will kill us, because we will be punishing those boys.

READ ALSO: South Africa name starting XI vs Ghana

"The little bit of scientific that I have, if the player has traveled this much the muscle shrinks and he lacks enough supply of oxygen and that is crucial to an athlete. We only took them to the pool and the pool is also tiring and people will tell you it’s good for regeneration."

The Black Stars of Ghana, meanwhile, go into the game after their goalless draw at home to Uganda on Friday in their Russia 2018 qualifying opener.

The team put up what many criticized as a poor performance, and coach Avram Grant is hoping this friendly offers a chance for him to fix his team ahead of next month's crucial World Cup qualifying match day two clash with Egypt in Cairo.

“We are looking forward to this game - at the end of the day, the most important game is the next game,” the Israeli said.

“We spoke a lot about the mentality with the players before the African Cup of Nations last year and we won the second game against Algeria. We then beat South Africa in the last game: we were 1-0 down and we won 2-1, so we showed a lot of mental strength. We have spoken a lot about this and we give tools to the players on how to use it and we want to see that against Egypt.’’

Grant is adamant the absence of his injured trio Jonathan Mensah, Afriyie Acquah and Jordan Ayew - who didn't travel with the team - won't affect his chances of winning the game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“Of course when you have a player that is good and is not in the team, we aren’t happy,” the former Chelsea manager said.

“But this is what we are facing and it has been the case over the last two years … there’s been a lot of absent players that are key, but we did it without them and we did very well.

“We had a lot of chances to win the game [against Uganda], but that belongs in the past now and we have to look forward to the next game - that is what is important.’’

Bafana Bafana will be without Tebogo Langerman, Hlompho Kekana and Keagan Dolly - all of whom have been released to join their club Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of this weekend's CAF Champions League final first leg against Zamalek. Kaizer Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho has also been excused to go grieve the loss of his brother, who died last week.

Coach Mashaba has already named his starting team: Brighton Mhlongo, Abbubaker Mobara, Isaac Nhlapo, Thulani Hlatshwayo (captain), Thabo Matlaba, Ayanda Patosi, Oupa Manyisa, Dean Furman, May Mahlangu, Eleazar Rodgers, Sibusiso Vilakazi.

Substitutes include: Jackson Mabokgwane, Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Maphosa Modiba, Mpho Makola, Thulani Serero, Mncwango, Thamsanqa Gabuza.

"There were always going to be changes in personnel but we thought because of the travelling, we needed some fresh legs hence we went for this team. It is a strong side that should compete,» he explained.

Ghana are without a win in their last two friendlies with South Africa. However, the Black Stars won their last meeting - a competitive fixture - last year at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea with a 2-1 score.

The game kicks of a 19h00 South African time (5:00pm Ghana time).

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